Write an essay where you tell us what test preparation practices work best for you and why.

Crushing tests and exams is often a matter of preparing your cognition and understanding to take on a set of problems within a certain period. What that means for me, is being able to store and retain information. My method for test-taking spans a few weeks prior to it, where I begin by reviewing the material I have learned up to that point in the form of either notes I took down in class, referenced textbook content or lecture slides. As I go through, I jot down the units and their associated topics I had trouble grasping through my initial round of review. Being able to identify gaps in my understanding of class material helps me better ascertain the amount of time I can devote in the following days to study them efficiently, especially with the overlapping tests and extracurriculars. Depending on the scale of the exam or my own shallow understanding of the information tested on it, this can easily take up a good portion of a day or two given that classes are still in session.

The next step usually comes in 3-4 days prior to test day, and it involves creating a cheat sheet. I study the topics I highlighted in my first list further in depth through practice problems and informational videos to better comprehend the material. Alongside the specific topics, I review the other material I didn’t include on the list once more. Condensing the information further, I write down key concepts and formulas onto my cheat sheet. Much like my note-taking habits in class, writing down the relevant information helps with memory retention much better, and the result is a comprehensible sheet that I can refer to for recalling content.

Finally, a day right before the exam is a day to relax. I treat this period as a cool-down session to relax my brain and body, either through light exercise, reading or listening to music. It sets me up to perform really well so that my cognitive abilities are at a peak for the next day.

Prince from New York
High School Senior
The Brooklyn Latin School